Recommended Wedding Cameras/Lenses for the 2013 Wedding Photography Year

In the previous year, we didn’t see many exciting items come from manufacturers for reasons of various natural disasters. But this year was by far the year where everyone wore their Sunday best. The wedding industry in particular saw many exciting items that were targeted toward them. We’ve recommended wedding gear before, and we’ve also talked about essential upgrades for the modern photographer. But if you’re looking to step up your game or if you’re being forced into shooting the wedding, here’s what you should be looking at in terms of gear.



Primary Camera

Nikon D800

The Nikon D800 has rocked the industry in some many different ways; and even as a Canon shooter I am in some ways jealous that you guys have it. Sporting a full frame sensor with enough megapixels to challenge medium format cameras. To boot, the high ISO results are excellent as well as the fact that it can shoot more than enough frames per second for wedding shooters. As always, Nikon’s excellent autofocus system is present in the camera and it honestly a no brainer for many wedding photographers. In some ways, it is even future-proof because of how much resolution you get, how great the focusing is, and how clean the images really can be when coupled with good glass.

As far as lenses go, we recommend Tamron’s 24-70mm f2.8 UD VC over Nikon’s for the sharpness and vibration compensation (see our review); but we recommend Nikon’s 70-200mm f2.8 VR II and their 14-24mm f2.8. If you’re a prime lens shooter, we’d rather you opt for their gorgeous 24mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4, and 105mm f2.8 lens.

Be sure to take a look at our review.

Canon 5D Mk III

Canon’s 5D Mk II revolutionized the industry in many ways and their 5D Mk III contains modest upgrades to their award winning formula. Though it may not be worth the upgrade for everyone, the camera has a lot going for it. With some extremely fast burst shooting and a quiet shutter mode coupled with the excellent high ISO abilities, this camera will make you fall in love with Canon all over again if you use it correctly. For wedding shooters that use Lightroom, Canon allows you to rate your images in camera for easier sorting in the post-production phase. Plus, Canon improved the autofocus system quite a bit to give you a camera with a lot to beat.

As far as lenses go, we recommend Tamron’s 24-70mm f2.8 UD VC over Canon’s new 24-70mm f2.8 L USM II for the sharpness and vibration compensation; but we recommend Canon’s 70-200mm f2.8 IS L USM II and their 16-35mm f2.8 L. If you’re a prime lens shooter, we’d rather you opt for their gorgeous 24mm f1.4 L, 35mm f1.4 L (a personal favorite lens), 50mm f1.2 L, 85mm f1.2 L, and 135mm f2 L lens.

For even more, check out our review. Consult our reviews index for the lenses.

Sony A99

The Sony A900 was an excellent camera with some great ergonomics; but it was ultimately meant for a studio shooter. Sony went back to the drawing board and created the A99; the world’s first translucent mirror digital full frame camera. We currently have one in for review and it is nothing shy of awesome. The A99 boasts excellent high ISO results, the fastest tracking autofocusing system we’ve seen to date from a DSLR, fast shooting abilities, great RAW file versatility, and SteadySHOT built in to compensate for shaky situations. But that’s not all, there are also two phase detection sensors: one for the tons of autofocus points in the camera and another for tracking subjects outside of it. This is the year that Sony has really started the step up to the plate and the A99 deserves full recognition for what it can do for a wedding photographer.

As far as lenses go, we recommend Sony’s 24-70mm f2.8 and their 70-200mm f2.8. If you’re a prime lens shooter, we’d rather you opt for their gorgeous 24mm f2, 35mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4, and 135mm f1.8 lens.

You can catch our coverage so far with the camera for shooting studio portraits and shooting landscapes.

Secondary Camera

Fujifilm X Pro 1

The Fujifilm X Pro 1 has won various awards for being what many experienced photographers would call the camera they’ve all been waiting for. The X Pro 1 is a clear shot across the table at Leica; and even has very rangefinder like aesthetics to its design. If one were to imagine the Contax G2 updated for the digital age, this would be it.

Complete with a special 16MP X Trans sensor that removes the AA filter; you’ll get nothing but sharp images from this camera, providing that it nails its focus correctly. Indeed, the image quality from it can hold its own with the likes of the full frame options from Canon, Nikon and Sony. Plus, it is quiet and will probably not be noticed by anyone during ceremonies due to its smaller size.

As far as lenses go, our favorite is the 35mm f1.4; but the company has many more to come soon that may also end up on our list. If you’re wondering if its right for you, consider checking out our full review.

Olympus OMD EM5

For many years, Olympus was one of the laughing stocks of the digital world on forums and other places. Then they came out with Micro Four Thirds and changed the industry. The culmination of all this work has created the Olympus OMD EM5: which is perhaps my favorite camera as my writing this post. The EM5 is weather sealed, boasts some extremely fast and accurate autofocus, as image quality that likens to Kodak Portra, and can deal with high ISO imagery much better than any previous cameras from the manufacturer. You can see all of this in our review.

To boot, it is also quite light and very small with a great electronic viewfinder that has the staff here in love with it. Like the X Pro 1, its smaller size, quiet shutter and super fast lenses will help you to get quicker candid photos.

Looking for some good glass? The answer lies in the primes. Olympus’s 17mm f1.8, Panasonic’g 25mm f1.4, Olympus’s 45mm f1.8 and 75mm f1.8 are all what you may be looking for. Personally though, my Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 is almost permanently attached to my camera.

Sony NEX 7

Sony’s NEX 7 won our three way battle between the mirrorless camera kings. It maintains the most balance with good autofocusing speed, excellent image quality, jaw dropping raw file versatility, and perhaps the best manual focusing of any mirrorless camera out there. The ergonomics aren’t for everyone, but if you can wrap your head around the ingenious shutter speed, aperture, and ISO dials, you’ll fine yourself to be a very happy photographer.

The best lenses for the system are the Sigma 30mm f2.8, Sony 24mm f1.8, Sony 35mm f1.8, and the Sony 50mm f1.8. The latter is one of the best 50mm lenses that we’ve ever tested. Plus if you’re a Sony DSLR user, you can swap the lenses out onto the camera using an adapter and still keep autofocus. Take a look at our review before you purchase.

Nikon D600

We didn’t think we would be surprised by the Nikon D600, but we actually ended up liking it quite a bit. The camera can basically be thought of as a D7000 with a full frame sensor. When the D7000 was announced, it excited everyone; and it was purchased in droves. With the D600 being Nikon’s affordable full frame option, we can once again see how people have flocked to it.

Our only real gripe with the camera was the ergonomics; but if you can get over that, you’ll have lots of great photos to share from this camera.

Canon 6D

When creating an affordable full frame body, Canon decided to rethink the plan totally. Essentially what they did was gave us a full frame sensor in a 60D style body; but that still feels good in the hand and in some ways reminds one of a 5D Mk II. The result is the Canon 6D: a camera wil excellent autofocusing, image quality, and that feels great in the hands.

The killer feature though is the built in Wi-Fi transmission. That means that while you’re shooting with this camera, you can have  wedding attendees chimp the screen and offer them a print right there on the spot providing you have an assistant to help you.

Those prints will only amount to extra money in your pocket.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.